An Early Holiday Present

April 4th, 2018

After three years of a 50th anniversary Pet Sounds tour, interspersed with a few greatest hits, it’s time for something completely different. At the end of the year , Brian, with Al and Blondie still in tow, will present the Beach Boys 1964 Christmas album in its entirety.

In addition, there will be songs from his solo Christmas album, What I Really Want For Christmas, plus more. It’s a slightly surprising turn, but good to see something different being done on the road by Brian.

Country Rebel Makes Perfect Pop Shocker

April 1st, 2018

Kacey Musgraves  is known as something of a country rebel, and she certainly isn’t in the conventional Nashville mould, but her latest album is very much a conventionally great pop record. Golden Hour may be closer genre-wise to country than anything else, but the great songwriting hearkens to classic American songbook. The occasional uptempo hoedowns of her earlier work are replaced more mid-tempo pop sensibilities -with occasional nods to the dancefloor, especially on High Horse but always ensuring great melodies and real musical instruments dominate. The overall mood is a lot more positive and romantic than earlier works, linked to singer’s recent marriage, but hints of the rebelliousness and previous disappointments still linger.

Everything here is very listenable, with some noteworthy tracks being the beautiful Butterlies, played at my own wedding, the pop perfection of Space Cowboy and the lovely title track which hearkens to both a past nostalgic utopia and a future where great songwriting would be appreciated as much as in the golden eras of pop. We live in a world on edge, but Kacey Musgraves has made the world a much better place to live in.

23 Songs For Today

March 28th, 2018

Inspired by their Cricket World Cup qualifying campaign – an all Scottish list

1. Trains – Al Stewart
2. Sand In Your Shoes -Al Stewart
3. Year of the Cat -Al Stewart
4. Sleep the Clock Around  -Belle & Sebastian
5. The Fox in the Snow -Belle & Sebastian
6. Everything is Now, Pt. Two -Belle and Sebastian
7. Wonderland -Big Country
8. East of Eden -Big Country
9. In A Big Country -Big Country
10. My America -Deacon Blue
11. Loaded -Deacon Blue
12. Rae -Deacon Blue
13. Woke From Dreaming -The Delgados
14. Margo’s Waltz -Lloyd Cole
15. Man Enough -Lloyd Cole
16. Forest Fire – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
17. Why Does It Always Rain On Me? -Travis
18. Church Not Made With Hands -The Waterboys
19. A Man Is In Love -The Waterboys
20. It Should Have Been You -The Waterboys
21. Angel Eyes -Wet Wet Wet
22. Blue For You -Wet Wet Wet
23. Theme From Ten -Wet Wet Wet

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLX: Half Moon Bay

March 22nd, 2018

The romantic instrumental has featured a few times in Brian’s works, but there hasn’t been an example in recent times, until the fifth track of No Pier Pressure in 2015. It’s a pleasant enough track, with the interesting percussion effects one of the highlights, as with earlier examples of this genre. (Summer Means New Love, After The Game). Mark Isham adds the romantic trumpet.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLIX: Ride The Wild Surf

March 17th, 2018

In our 158 “hidden beauties”, we have only covered one of the songs that Brian co-wrote with Jan Berry, and which only appear on Jan And Dean albums. That number moves up to two, with our 159th entry. Surf City is the best known of these collaborations, but possibly the one song that captures the exhilaration and excitement of riding the waves is Ride The Wild Surf, also featured in the movie of the same name.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLVIII: One Kind Of Love

March 11th, 2018

The “new” song for the Love And Mercy movie had already been released on the No Pier Pressure album – although as a late addition as it mentioned in the original publicity for the album. Nominated for a Golden Globe, and retained during Brian’s “Pet Sounds 50” tours, it has got some reasonable publicity – which is deserved for a gentle and meaningful love song focusing on the importance of unconditional love.

A Solo Artist

March 8th, 2018

52 years and one day ago, the first record with a Brian Wilson solo credit came out. With Caroline No as the feature signal, and Summer Means New Love as the flipside, it is surely one of the greatest single releases ever. Of course, the solo credit was an anomaly for a singer who was very much part of the Beach Boys at stage. It took another 30 years before Brian marked his debut as predominantly a solo artist with another single –Let’s Go To Heaven In My Car.

Another 10 years later was another milestone -Brian’s first solo show, filmed for the Imagination DVD. That show was a one-off, but from the following year, Brian was officially on tour, and this year, will mark his 20th successive year on the road. Brian Wilson will always be a Beach Boy, but has now spent more than half his musical career doing predominantly solo music, and a fair portion of that as a touring artist.

2018 On The Road

March 4th, 2018

Brian Wilson’s 2018 tour is being fleshes out a bit more, with 14 dates now confirmed.  However, it isn’t all Pet Sounds 50th anniversary (in it’s 52nd year); three of the dates are designated Greatest Hits Live. Looks like it will be a quieter year, but Brian will still take his music for the 20th year in succession on the road.

23 Songs For Today

February 27th, 2018

1) BRIGHT EYES (Art Garfunkel)
2) NO FAIR AT ALL (Association)
3) WHEN I GROW UP (TO BE A MAN)
4) RAIN (Beatles)
5) KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVENS DOOR (Bob Dylan)
6) EIGHT MILES HIGH (Byrds)
7) A NEW CAREER IN A NEW TOWN (David Bowie)
8) MANHATTAN SKYLINE (David Shire)
9) BROTHERS IN ARMS (Dire Straits)
10) BUILD (Housemartins)
11) GOING UNDERGROUND (Jam)
12) DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA (Julie Covington)
13) WE’LL TAKE THIS TRAIN (Kane Gang)
14) WATERLOO SUNSET (Kinks)
15) NEVER’S END (Lloyd Cole And The Commotions)
16) HEART OF GOLD (Neil Young)
17) TECHNIQUE (Prefab Sprout)
18) WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS (Queen)
19) WORLD LEADER PRETEND (REM)
20) A LOVE SO BEAUTIFUL (Roy Orbison)
22) I WON’T SHARE YOU (Smiths)
23) ONE (U2)

Happy 75, George

February 25th, 2018

Happy 75th birthday to my favorite Beatle, George Harrison. He hasn’t been with us for some time, but he speaks to us clearly in 2018 in this, one of his greatest songs

“Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go”